By Fr. Tom Zelinski, OFM Cap.
As a priest, I get to listen to lots of people of all ages. Often with people who have been on the earth for some time, a similar theme appears. People who have been trying to pray, attend church, receive sacraments for many years often feel as though they should be “better” by now. They “should” have more patience, more charity, more kindness, be better at prayer.
It is probably natural that we wonder “How am I doing?” And many of us tend too easily to lean toward the negative and think less of ourselves than might be accurate.
The Gospel parables of the recent Sunday have something to say about all that. Jesus uses images of farm crops and the famous mustard seed. Many things come from very small beginnings, and often grow and develop in quiet and mysterious ways.
I would suggest the good people who tell me about their shortcomings have no idea how much good they have done in their long lives, how many good seeds they have planted by their care, their hard work, their responsible tending to children, relatives and friends.
Measuring such things is not necessary. We can leave that up to God, and keep on, in the present and the future, planting our seeds of kindness, justice, and compassion.